The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (37)
| Top Critics (16)
| Fresh (28)
| Rotten (9)
When a play is adapted for the screen, too often you can see the stitches.
It's great fun to watch Patrick Stewart in "Match," seeming to chew scenery (and actually doing so from time to time) but offering something else underneath.
Belber sometimes strains credulity to keep the characters together until the end, but Stewart carries the story to its conclusion with a performance ranging from the fierce to the tender.
This small film (virtually all of it filmed in Tobi's New York apartment) is a real gem.
Onscreen, the material seems contrived and thin. What must have been an electrifying clash of personalities onstage is over the top on film.
The stereotypical fruitiness burns off in the course of the film's revelations, exposing a hoarse, broken, lonely man, and Stewart hits notes of grief I've never heard from him before.
Stewart's performance here is Electric; an in your face and no-holes-bared tour-de-force which gives us a full frontal look into his characters psyche; however some may find it overplayed at times it is a delight to watch none the less.
Few things are more entertaining than Stewart playing to the cheap seats, and since most of us will probably never get to see him in a live performance, Match may be the next best thing.
Match swiftly dwindles into the most middlebrow kind of theater. Accusations are hurled, apologies are tendered, grudges are nursed and dismissed, and everyone learns valuable lessons.
Lack of cinematic spectacle is offset by good performances and writing
Match's slightly wooden trajectory is compensated for by Patrick Stewart's compelling performance as the brash, outwardly confident but fundamentally lonely Tobi.
Not that co-stars Gugino and Lillard are subpar, but Stewart has a way of taking the viewer on a specific dramatic journey, gifting "Match" a sense of surprise and buried pain that's always riveting to watch.
A couple interviews a choreographer, whose relation to them may be personal.
Patrick Stewart, known principally for his work in science fiction, is in fact an incredible actor. He is one of the last, best examples of gravitas, and yet in this film, he proves himself to be capable of profound vulnerability, deft comic charm, and disarming fortitude. His performance in this three-character comic drama is the glue that holds the whole thing together, and there are moments when the other two actors can barely catch up.
The story is fairly simple, and the plot unfolds predictably and even becomes a little maudlin by the end, but this is one film in which the journey truly is far more compelling than the destination.
Overall, Stewart's work in this indie gem is its most noteworthy attribute.
Patrick Stewart gives a singular performance as a resignedly broken and isolated man in the sunset of his career. Although the story is a bit inauthentic at times, the characters wonderfully portray their individual circumstances of isolation -- some chosen, some imposed, and some not fully realized. "Match" is a poignant film but it may have been better had it broken from its stage roots and allowed the characters to venture out of Tobias' apartment rather than awkwardly fumble through implausible impulses to remain in the same room together.
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